Tuesday, September 26, 2017

day no. 14,218: they came in conflict and walked away with peace

Genesis 26:30-32
So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace. 32 That same day Isaac's servants came and told him about the well that they had dug and said to him, “We have found water.”
During the course of reading Genesis 26 we find most people coming to Isaac in conflict and all walking away in peace. Isaac was a peacemaker. Whatever you were looking for when you went looking for Isaac, it appears you always walked away from him with peace. Even here, we find him preparing a feast and making promises of peace to people who have done nothing but harass him previously. Isaac was often ready to forgive and quick to act if asked to give it.

Monday, September 25, 2017

day no. 14,217: made to make much of someone else

Genesis 26:23-25
From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham's sake.” 25 So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac's servants dug a well.

As much as we might want to have blessings multiplied for our own sake, it is never as satisfying as when they are multiplied for another's sake. Our lives were designed to bring glory to another and those who embrace this part of their DNA find fuller expression of who they are and deeper satisfaction in being who they are than those who continually run their accomplishments up the flagpole.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

day no. 14,216: water wherever he walked

Genesis 26:22
And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."
Isaac accommodated others' inclinations. He did not box out or throw elbows. He simply moved on and sought a peaceful existence in the land where God was blessing his productivity. As vital as water was, Isaac valued peace more and trusted God to provide water wherever he walked.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

day no. 14,215: their giggles gave it away

Genesis 26:8-9
When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. 9 So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?”
I love that Isaac and Rebekah's marital bliss overflowed in such common, everyday ways that anyone observing them knew that they were married. They laughed and played in such a way in public that it implied also a private relationship. Oh that more Christian marriages were more publically identified by this kind of stereotype instead of the blank stares over bland food that so often serves as the prototype for Christian, married life.

Friday, September 22, 2017

day no. 14,214: hot wives and cold feet

Genesis 26:4-5, 7
"I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my law." …7 When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance.

Isaac did not fall far from the tree. He inherited the blessing of his father Abraham and his bad habits to boot. Abraham and Isaac both had hot wives, cold feet and covenant from God.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

day no. 14,213: where it really gets personal

"What is the sign of a friend? Is it that he tells you his secret sorrows? No, it is that he tells you his secret joys. Many people will confide their secret sorrows to you, but the final mark of intimacy is when they share their secret joys with you." – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, June 3, 2017
This is an incredible insight I have tried, tested and affirmed both in my own heart and in my experience in life, friendship, marriage, parenting and ministry.
Without question, I have heard more confessions of secret sorrow and struggle than I have heard of secret pleasures and joys. It takes a degree of vulnerability to let someone else see your hidden wounds, but it takes far greater transparency and trust to willfully guide someone to your secret treasures. What you truly like and love most is more the essence of who you are and would choose to be. So in keeping, it is often the most difficult thing to say out loud, even to someone who knows us well.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

day no. 14,211: a cross country runner can outrun a sprinter if the finish is in the distance

Genesis 25:29-34
Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

It is ironic that the hunter, Esau, spent all day out and about only to arrive at home hungry. Meanwhile, Jacob made stew at home. The difference between stew and soup is that stew takes longer to make – it must stew for a while. And while the stew was stewing, Jacob was stewing as well. He was a contemplative man who took responsibility for his home by doing what needed to be done and contemplating ways to do it better. This sharpened sense of planning certainly granted him an edge when playing legacy chess with Esau. Esau despised his birthright by treating it with contempt. He showed how little he valued it by trading it for something as simple as stew. Esau spent his day unproductively chasing the wind while Jacob spent the day waiting for stew to stew. While neither is inherently a better way to spend your day in general, it is in this case indicative of the more pronounced differences between these two men. Jacob's schemes involved the long game, which require patience, planning, etc… while Esau's impetuous decision was entirely in keeping with his short-sighted approach to life: chase whatever is immediately in front of you. Jacob's life was oriented around whatever he determined was most important, Esau's around whatever he determined was most urgent.

Monday, September 18, 2017

day no. 14,210: a house divided

Genesis 25:28
Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Isaac loved Esau because they had shared interests, in particular, a love of eating meat. But Rebekah loved Jacob, likely because of their shared interest of putting the family and its legacy first. And I'm sure this was clear to any and all involved. Rebekah knew that Isaac liked Esau and Isaac knew that Rebekah preferred Jacob. And I'm sure Jacob and Esau knew too.

As a general rule, nothing good can come from a house divided. But furthermore, this particular house had a direct word from God (Genesis 25:23) with respect to who would carry the baton of God's promise forward. I'm not sure if the attitudes and events that followed were a product of a heightened awareness of what God ultimately wanted to do or a numbed ignorance, but either way, it appears no one felt safe leaving the results to God alone.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

day no. 14,209: true manliness

Genesis 25:27
When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents.

Do not read this as saying, "Esau had a subscription to Outdoor magazine while Jacob read Cosmo." The thrust of this distinction isn't to highlight degrees of manliness in the machismo sense, but of manliness in the sense of responsibility. And in that sense, Esau was the one who was found lacking, not Jacob. Esau did what he liked, which was being out and about, doing his own thing, away from home base while Jacob observed the operation, took notes, and took responsibility for his family. He stayed close to the home he desired to inherit.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

day no. 14,208: playing keep away with God

Genesis 25:22-23
The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”

Rebekah asked God what was happening to her and God provided her with a specific response: you are having twin boys and the younger of the two is the one that God was choosing to pass the baton of His promise from Genesis 3:15. This will come into play going forward as we will see a good deal of jockeying and strategy sessions aimed at wrangling the blessing from each other.  But God clearly chose and communicated his choice before they were born. All ingenuity then geared toward taking it away or keeping it away from the other was a lesson in futility, because it wasn't ultimately a game of capture the flag from the hands of men, but an attempt to pry a blessing from the hand of God who had said from the onset what He was going to do and through whom He was going to do it.

Friday, September 15, 2017

day no. 14,207: living and praying with your wife

Genesis 25:21
And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
When husbands live with their wives (a la 1 Peter 3:7), they know how to pray for them and will find their prayers in concert with (instead of in opposition to) their wife's (also a la 1 Peter 3:7).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

day no. 14,206: hello, my name is "I do"

Genesis 24:63-67
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel 65 and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
Isaac went out for a walk in the field and ended up attending his own impromptu wedding. A bride and groom are not typically introduced at the altar, but here we see, "Nice to meet you," followed by, "I do." And Isaac loved her. This may seem extreme, and perhaps it is, but that only implies then that our marriages, followed by months of engagement - preceded by months (if not years) of dating, should be all the more set up for long term success, right?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

day no. 14,205: devotion is worth as much as it costs to pay it

Genesis 23:13, 16, 19
And (Abraham) said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants. 19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.

Our devotion is worth as much as it costs us to pay it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

day no. 14,204: the wood laid on his son

Genesis 22:6
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
Isaac carried his own wood up the hill. Jesus carried His own cross up Calvary. Isaac was saved by a substitute. Jesus substituted Himself to save us.

Monday, September 11, 2017

day no. 14,203: when it says, it does

Genesis 21:1
And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken.
The Word is living and active. God keeps His Word, because His Word never comes back void. It does what it says because when it says, it does.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

day no. 14,202: no fear

Genesis 20:8, 10-11
So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, 'There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.'"
Abimelech did the one thing Abraham suspected he would never do: fear the Word of God.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

day no. 14,201: but what about that one time?

Genesis 20:6
Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.
God did not let Abimelech sin. God can and does interfere with our wishes and keeps us from doing things we would have otherwise done. So one might reply, "Then why doesn't He always do this?" to which I would reply, "I don't know." But He clearly can. So it is in His wisdom that He chooses to interfere and change minds sometimes, but not any and every time. I don't know why, but that doesn't rob Him of His sovereignty.

Friday, September 8, 2017

day no. 14,200: less than ideal

Genesis 19:30-32, 36-38
Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.
So this is… less than ideal. I can see where the daughters are coming from only in the sense that most men they knew were piles of ashes in the valley still smoking below them and there were no sons of Lot to be found. So Lot's name and family was likely to die with them in this cave. So to be fair, it's not an unimportant problem that they're trying to resolve. That said, desperate times never call for desperate measures like this. This goes to show that being good requires more than good intentions. You can find yourself sincerely attempting to help, but sincerity can still be sin.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

day no. 14,199: remember Lot's wife

Genesis 19:26
But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.\
One of the shortest verses in the Bible is Luke 17:32 where Jesus says, "Remember Lot's wife." Three simple words, one tremendous principle: do not outrage the Spirit of grace by turning back to that from which He has rescued you. Do not show mercy to your sin. Do not scrapbook your former life before Christ. Face forward, striving with every fiber of your being to take hold of Him Who has taken hold of you.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

day no. 14,198: creative commons

Genesis 19:23-25, 27-28
The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
Sulfur and fire fell from heaven as divine judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. God overthrew those who overthrew the order of things as God designed. Their utter disregard for His creative authority cost them their progressive lives.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

day no. 14,197: the right to be rescued

Genesis 19:15
As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
Why Lot lingered we do not know. We know from 2 Peter 2 that he had come to both cry out against the city's immorality and to continue to pitch his tent among them. Whatever compelled him to stay before likely motivated his procrastination at the present. But God, in His mercy, did not give Lot what his delay deserved. He brought him out of harm's way by His grace, because He wanted to, not because Lot had earned the right to be rescued.

Monday, September 4, 2017

day no. 14,196: not moved or motivated

Genesis 19:14
So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
Lot came with urgent news that was met with resistance in the genre of dismissive. His sons-in-law could not believe the urgency. They couldn't take this seriously. Perhaps it was because Lot had a habit of expressing his discontent for Sodom in superlatives (2 Peter 2:7-8) or maybe it was due to their own moral luke warmness, but either way, these boys were not moved or motivated by Lot's plea.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

day no. 14,195: groping for greater darkness

Genesis 19:9-11
Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

Sodom pressed hard against Lot, but the men God sent to destroy the city rescued him by blinding the sexual predators. Notice that their blindness was not, however, a deterrent to their desires. Sodom feverishly continued trying to get to these two men - so consuming was their desire that they wore themselves out groping for the door. Just as a frightened person in a dark room desperately tries over and over to find the door handle to get out, these men greedily groped to find the entrance into Lot's home and into these men. Sodom was outside in the dark, darkened in their understanding, and seeking greater degrees of darkness inside.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

day no. 14,194: to the last man

Genesis 19:4-5
But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”
Every single man in the city showed up to have their way with the two strange men rumored to be staying at Lot's place. There were no men left in the city other than Lot who were not conspiring to molest these two men. The whole town was the bad part of town. Sodom was not interested in "getting to know" these men as friends or enemies, but to "know" them the way Adam knew Eve resulting in the conception of children. Abraham's proposal to find 10 righteous men would fail and Sodom would be destroyed.

Friday, September 1, 2017

day no. 14,193: any and every

A Christian should be willing to do anything, anytime, anywhere for Jesus by faith that God has done, is doing and will continue to do everything, everywhere, every time.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

day no. 14,192: progressively stunted

Genesis 18:32-33
Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

This passage culminates in two different audacities. First, Abraham has the hutzpah to haggle His Creator down to the agreement that if 10 righteous are found amongst the urban hipcats of Sodom, God will spare them. The second is that there apparently were not even 10 righteous in that progressive city. For all of its modern charm and relevance, it lacked 1 thing… well, 10 things to be exact. There were no more than 9 righteous people in that entire metroplex. If there had been, it would have remained standing. But for lack of righteousness it was humbled. Posters promoting parades of pride flamed and flew through the cocky atmosphere.  For all their advancement, they had finally arrived at their terminal.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

day no. 14,191: old school grace, new school wrath

Genesis 18:22
So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.
Jesus dispatched the angels to the task of destroying Sodom. Jesus approved of its destruction. He did not show up thousands of years later to apologize for His grumpy old Dad. Jesus is eternal God. What God does, He does. What God says, He says. If you are prone to believing the lie that the OT was archaic, bloody and backwoods and that the NT is enlightened, gracious and revolutionary, you are reading them wrong. There is grace upon grace in the OT and there is plenty of blood and destruction in the NT. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

day no. 14,190 continued... no agenda is hidden before Him

Genesis 18:20
Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.
God is never a victim of a false report. He is not swayed by feelings or confused by spin. No agenda is hidden before Him. He personally and perfectly inspects and renders judgment. He always knows. No guilty will go unpunished. No innocent will go unavenged.

day no. 14,190: Laurelai is this many!

Lolo is 4, 4!!! You have been excited to turn this many for quite some time. You want to be a big girl in many ways and yet you also like being our tiny resident lady. You are a delight. You insist on getting a hug from me every morning I leave work -- so much so that some nights you wake up (recently around 4 am) screaming in your bed until I enter and you remind me to hug you before I leave for work. It is cute… and exhausting! You like sitting on my lap during family move night and you haven't decided yet whether or not you like tickles. You scream and ask me to stop when I do but you beg for them when I don't. I love you Laurelai. May you continue to grow in wisdom, stature (but not too much, I love that you're little) and favor with God and men. May you honor God, be honorable and receive honor in increasing, respective degrees. Here's to 4 and being so good at being this many!

Monday, August 28, 2017

day no. 14,189: chosen and commanded

Genesis 18:19
For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.

God chose Abraham for a task. Abraham's responsibility was to command his children and his household to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. Abraham's responsibility was to respond to God's ability to do what He had promised by commanding those under his influence to do the same. May men of God hear this and be inspired likewise to do the same for theirs.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

day no. 14,188: a stroll through the woods

Genesis 18:1
And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.
Do not miss this. The Lord appeared to Abraham on a hot day during the hottest part of that particular day. Abraham is hanging out on the stoop, trying to stay cool when God shows up at his house. Do not make a habit of assuming where and when God will appear. He does not always RSVP to the scheduled revival meeting, but He does sometime take a stroll through the woods apparently. Do not miss Him by looking only where you think He should appear. Look at what is in front of you, always ready to receive Him whenever He may decide to appear.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

day no. 14,187: eagerly enduring difficulties

Genesis 17:22-23
When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23 Then Abraham… circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him.
Those who love God gladly and eagerly endure the difficulties required to draw them closer to Him.

Friday, August 25, 2017

day no. 14,186: vanity fair

Genesis 17:20-21
As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

God chose Isaac over Ishmael before Isaac had done anything, good or bad. Grace is not fair. If it was, it would no longer be grace, it would be a wage. Praise God for His wisdom in election and for the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. It is likely not how we would have done it, but who are we to say that our way would have been better? 

Would our way be more fair? Depends who you ask. 
Would it be less gracious? Absolutely!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

day no. 14,185: how grace rolls

Genesis 17:17
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
Grace knocks you over with a feather and leaves you rolling around giggling. If Abraham had felt entitled, he may have only experienced a smirk of "it's about time," but because he was humble, he fell over himself laughing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

day no. 14,184: the very point of reproduction

Genesis 17:9-10
And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised."

The sign of this covenant was available only to males for through them the promised Serpent Crusher was destined to arrive. This promise of God would be fulfilled specifically by a male child born under the Law and as such the sign of this particular aspect of the covenant was placed at the very point of reproduction.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

day no. 14,183: eternity never expires

Genesis 17:7
"And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you."
The God of Abraham initiates and keeps covenant and because He is eternal, His promises never expire. Any who approach Him by faith shall be called sons of Abraham.

Monday, August 21, 2017

day no. 14,182: when God says, "go back."

Genesis 16:7-9
The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her."
Where we want to be and where God wants us are not always the same place.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

day no. 14,181: a pregnant sentence

Genesis 16:4, 6
And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
Sarai's plan produced more than just a pregnancy, it conceived contempt. What she thought she wanted turned out to be more than she could handle. Discontent conceived the plan before malcontent was born.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

day no. 14,180: shot caller

Genesis 15:12-14
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
God calls His shots. Long before the 10 plagues of Egypt were observed, they were foretold. The slavery and the salvation were not reactions, but the plan and what Abraham saw in lucid dream, Moses saw with undimmed eyes.

Friday, August 18, 2017

day no. 14,179: the bloody path between the halves

Genesis 15:7-11, 17-18
And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” 8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away... 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram.
God made the covenant all by Himself. He passed through the bloody path between the halves of animals Abram had protected from the vultures. God walked through alone. While Abram slept, God was at work.
God descended as Abram slumbered, just as Jesus drank the cup while His closest friends slept. God promised, may it be done to Me as it has been done to these animals if I do not fulfill My word. He kept His word… and He was torn to shreds.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

day no. 14,178: a decade

10 years ago this evening Paige and I were married. She wore a white dress. I wore a black tux. I cried. We toasted, we cut cake. We set the dance floor on fire and then nearly set the banquet hall on fire (sparklers were involved). We took home months of green bean casserole and cheesy potatoes. I like who we were and I like who we are now and all that has gone in between. It hasn't always been rainbows and butterflies, but it has been good, really good. One decade down for Team Van Voorst and we're only becoming more formidable by the day. If you wanted to stop us, you missed your window. We're too strong now (and we're only getting stronger). A dynasty is born.

day no. 14,178 continued... extra credit

Genesis 15:6
And he believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.
Abram's belief in God's promise was credited to his account as righteousness. Abram didn't do anything. He believed that God was going to do something. That belief in God's character was currency that spends in eternity.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

day no. 14,177: God graciously looked down

Genesis 15:5
And He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
A childless man looked up at an infinite sky as a gracious God looked down on the father of nations.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

day no. 14,176: the Maker of riches

Genesis 15:1
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
After receiving communion and blessing from Melchizedek, Abram receives assurance and security from the Lord. If God is your shield, what can harm you? If your reward is coming from the Maker of riches, how great is your reward?

Monday, August 14, 2017

day no. 14,175: a husband must have answers

1 Corinthians 14:33-35
God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
I have read these verses many times and interacted with them often with respect to the ongoing women in leadership, complementarian discussion. But I never before today noticed the tremendous weight and responsibility this puts upon the husband. A good, godly weight, but an intense one nevertheless. If a wife has questions, who is she instructed to ask? Her husband once they are home. So who needs to have answers? Her husband. And if she is eager, zealous to learn and grow, he must keep up with her and even more so to be out ahead of her in order to field her questions and pastor his little flock. He is under Biblical obligation to answer her, not simply buy her books or send her off to someone else's house to a woman's group to learn. He MUST answer her which means he MUST know. He must do the work of study, meditation, contemplation, etc… in order to be the best pastor of his home. The godlier the wife, the more of a man he will be required to be. The godlier the man, the further onward and upward he will be able to lead his own home. If it is shameful for a woman to speak in church, how much more shameful is it for a man to be silent in his own home?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

day no. 14,174: means of grace

Genesis 14:18-20
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Melchizedek was a king and a priest. He brought bread and wine and blessings to Abraham who in turn gave a tenth of everything he had to Melchizedek. Abraham received the communion and the blessings Melchizedek offered. Melchizedek received the offerings Abraham tithed.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

day no. 14,173: a handful of sharpened sticks and a forest of twigs

Genesis 14:14-16
When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.

Abraham trained and raised an army before he needed one. When that time came, he already had men who were trained. Abraham was not threatened by their gain. He was fortified by their advancement. When the time came, he lead his army, divided them and took out kings... plural. Did you catch that? It was previously 4 kings against 5 and Abraham rides into town with a handful of trained men and takes them all out. A handful of sharpened sticks are more useful arrows than a forest of twigs. Taking the time to sharpen men in times of peace produces pointier, more punctual results in times of war.

the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.

Friday, August 11, 2017

day no. 14,172: initiating worship

Genesis 13:18
So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

If you've been paying attention, Abram had a habit of building altars to the Lord wherever he went. If Abram was going to call a particular place home for a moment, he built an altar and worshiped God. Do we initiate worship wherever we find ourselves or do we only enter into worship that has been scheduled and prepared for us by others?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

day no. 14,171: good land, bad plants

Genesis 13:12-13
Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

Lot made his decision based on the land, but failed to consider the lay of the land. The place where he was going to pitch his tent may have been good land, but it possessed bad inhabitants. The dirt was good, but the atmosphere was wicked.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

day no. 14,170: a plan to end the bitterness

Genesis 13:8-9
8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
Abram recognized the strife and proposed a plan to end the bitterness. His benevolence toward man and his trust in the sovereignty of God are both observed in his willingness to place the matter fully within Lot's hand.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

day no. 14,169: mutually exclusive private islands

Genesis 13:7
and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock.
Mo' moolah, mo' problems. The more you have, the more you need to keep what you already have. As Abram and Lot both grew rich, they also grew apart. There wasn't room enough for them to both be rich in the same place at the same time in the same way. The land could not sustain them both and it produced hostility between those who were in charge of caring for the flocks.

Monday, August 7, 2017

day no. 14,168: a need for grace no less than ours

Genesis 12:17-19
17 But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. 18 So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.”
Abraham was an imperfect man who required grace if he was going to be saved. As great as he was, his need for grace was no less than ours.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

day no. 14,167 continued... birthdays and anniversaries

Happy 79th Birthday Dad! Almost 80. That is crazy.

And Happy 40th Wedding Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!

day no. 14,167: the offspring of father Abraham

Genesis 12:7
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”
The offspring of Abraham are those who by grace through faith lay claim to the inheritance earned and offered by Jesus.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

day no. 14,166: great enterprise often begins with a great sacrifice

Genesis 12:1-3
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Great enterprise often begins with a great sacrifice and great futures are often the products of surrendered goods.